Beyond Boundaries: Forging Gender-Neutral Laws Against Domestic Violence in India


Women’s have always been the subject of discussions in the matters of Domestic Violence and men’s have always been targeted as the culprits of such cases. Gone are the days when the legal rules were considered as the protection weapon for the parties. In today’s competitive era, filled with lot of negative feelings and emotions now these rules are considered as the tool for taking the revenge and rule for torturing and abusing the other party. However, Domestic violence, is now no longer constrained to women due to the changes being witnessed in the socioeconomic developments in our society. Many a times men too are being mistreated verbally, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.  but they do not reveal abusive behaviours or the tortures and hence are the silent victims of its effects. If we trace out the data with respect to number of suicides by men on account of domestic violence or maintenance cases, it would be many but no such laws have been in favour of it.

This article brings into light advantage the women’s are enjoying or taking the leverage of law to victimise men’s for any misbehaviours which are so minute to be tackled in the name of domestic violence. Because of our culture, there are many laws favouring for women as sufferers of exploitation, some men are fair in domestic violence cases, not liable for justice, possibly due to most men being actual culprits.

This article seeks to investigate the scope of the problem and emphasise its causes and consequences. There is a demand for gender neutral legislations for the matters of domestic violence. The article relates to striking the balance between the laws of men and women in cases of domestic violence and providing equality and neutral laws for both the genders.


In general, it can be defined as assault, abuse, and violence against anyone who is related to you through a family or home. Exploitation in case of domestic violence can be of several ways, it can be physical, verbally, financial abuse or torture, mental or emotional abuse as well. The following are some examples of domestic violence:

  • There can be many forms of harassment- putting someone’s life in danger, harassing them for illegitimate demands, threatening or torturing, not supporting financially, using offensive language, and restricting the usage of any shared resources.
  • Essentially, any abusive activity relating to emotional, financial, verbal, or physical nature is inclusive in domestic violence. It basically relates to violation of human rights.


From long time there have been laws relating to Divorce, Domestics violence, Rape, Custody of child, harassment, etc which aims to provide protection in favour of women only as they have been always considered the victims of domestic violence. Agreeing with the fact that status of women in the early period of civilization was no better then slaves. Not denying this fact too that women have been recognised as the makers and creators of the family but nowadays this too cannot be denied that women have become the root cause of all the evils. As things are progressing, technology is changing, and with passage of time the laws too should be updated with respect to equality for both genders in relationship. It is the high time now, seeing the surge in number of suicide cases by men to gender neutralise the laws relating to domestic violence so that one party is not being exploited at the hands of others, in spite being innocent. Gender neutrality, thereby relates to the adoption of philosophies or practices that do not create any discrimination based on an individual’s gender self or sex. Simply said, it involves abstaining from making any discrimination or the preconceptions about gender identity or sex in laws, Policies, language etc. Therefore, it aims to create a system that does not limit individuals based solely on their gender.


Principle of equality is required for the protection of genders in violation of right in domestic violence case. As discussed above, gender neutrality is an opinion that will be of great help for the legal system of any country as it attempts to provide protection equally to all genders without discrimination based on any presumptions or labels. Basically, employing gender-neutral guidelines can have a noteworthy impact on the implementation of the law. While most Indian legal laws now apply to all genders, several are explicitly drafted to consider the gender of both the culprit and the one who is victimised. These rules, whether they deal with deaths due to dowry, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, or anything else, are prejudicial for one gender—specifically women. In general, the law confines its scope by defining who is allowed to commit a crime by assuming the gender of both the party being victimised and the offender. These restrictions may lead a great deal of identical incidents unnoticed just because the gender of the victim or the gender of the offender, or both, varies with what the law lays down.

Gender Neutral
[Image Sources: Shutterstock]

Additionally, these laws relating to a specific to gender encourage the stereotype that the sufferer is consistently a woman, leading to extensive harassment. Many fake charges of domestic assault or divorce have been registered against the man and his family, leading to cruel proceedings that have extended for months, if not years. Landmark cases of such instances in which wife was seen harassing and mentally torturing her husband and his family with incorrect charges of domestic abuse without any valid evidences for it, as in 2014 in the case of K. Srinivas v/s K. Sunita and in the recent case of Mamta v/s Pradeep Kumar in the year 2023.


Gender-neutral regulations in the cases of domestic violence cases are the next move towards bringing achieving gender parity, & promoting a greater feeling of equality and inclusion to all genders. Gender-inclusive legislation might help raise knowledge about various concepts relating to identity of different gender identity and orientation in sexuality. As these views are still new in many countries, including India as well, laws relating to gender-neutrality might throw more light on them and facilitate in the growth of better understanding of them. While the societal consequences of gender-neutral legal requirements may be difficult to comprehend, they may be simplified with enough perseverance and time. Implementation of Gender-neutrality in the legal statutes of domestic violence of any state means that it not only eradicates the differences related to gender or sex, but it also deals with struggle that all genders experience without ignoring them. Some of these challenges include inequitable compensation for female employees, illegal accusations of abuse against males, harassment in case of domestic violence, divorce, etc. In an increasingly gender-inclusive and understanding society, will no longer have to tolerate injustices done to them because, historically, their gender has been associated with the crime rather than the victim. This can be achieved by eliminating all legal provisions that limit the scope of their application by determining the gender of the parties affected.


The main contention is that implementing regulations relating to neutrality of gender might lead to the revocation of legislation regarding protection of women, as we are aware of this fact that patriarchal roots persist in Indian society. By introducing gender-neutrality regulations, male criminals or their accomplices can take advantage of them to file counter-complaints, compelling women sufferers to revoke their claims. Fighting multiple lawsuits could be too costly for families who cannot afford to employ an advocate for multiple cases. Thus, implementation of gender-neutral regulations may make the situation worse than providing any benefit to the society. In the country like India, we are still far away from being an entirely gender neutral in domestic violence cases mostly, when we are aware of this fact that still majority women are harassed and victims in the society. If neutrality of gender is being exercised in cases like domestic assault or violence this will lead to misuse by giving the culprit authority to suppress the women’s by emotionally pressurizing and torturing them.


As the time is progressing, the needs of individuals change and vary. In such a situation, the legal provision of the country must also be restructured and revised to meet the needs of the people. In the present scenario, India has made noteworthy strides in enriching the disadvantaged women mostly in cases of domestic violence through judicial regulations. The next step in achieving gender equality is to consider inclusion of same with respect to provision of domestic violence without any biasedness.

The system will remain the same if we do not question the social conventions and convince people and make them believe that domestic violence against males is an alarming concern that requires prompt action. As a result, we think the amendments that include men within the purview of the Domestic Violence Act will provide a positive outcome, allowing only true victims of either gender to come seek justice, hence reducing the misuse of legal protections in India. Everyone, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender, deserves to be protected from domestic abuse.

Author: Dr. Rajshree Srivastava, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to or at  Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.

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